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Thread: Gregg Allman - Low Country Blues

  1. #1
    Grumpy Old Man Music Head's Avatar
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    Aug 2009
    Lancaster, Kentucky, United States

    Default Gregg Allman - Low Country Blues

    as the title implies, mostly blues here
    problem with typical blues for me is the limitation
    same is true for this as it tends to be too repetitious
    nice blues voice though

    Grade - 1.5

    released Jan 18th, 2011

    from the album - Just Another Rider - grade 2.0

    from all music


    Gregg Allman's most visible contribution to rock music is as lead singer, organist, and songwriter with the Allman Brothers Band, founded by his brother Duane (d. 1971) in 1969. He has never threatened to eclipse the band that carries his family name, but he has found occasional success and popularity with his solo work, which is distinctly different, more soulful and less focused on high-wattage virtuosity.

    Allman's instrument is the organ, and he is most effective, when he is in top form, as a singer. His first instrument, ironically enough, was the guitar, and he took it up before his older brother Duane did. But Duane learned it better and quickly eclipsed Gregg. Where Gregg did excel was on the organ and as a singer (a role Duane was never comfortable with), which proved important but not at the center of a group that became famous for its 40-minute instrumental jams and three-hour sets. Through their early efforts, in bands like the Allman Joys and the Hour Glass, they shared the spotlight, with Duane taking the lengthy solos and Gregg fronting the band and offering Booker T. Jones-type keyboard playing. Liberty Records signed the Hour Glass and tried making Gregg into the focus of their efforts during the late '60s, but it never quite worked.

    When the Allman Brothers were organized, the flashy (and vital) instrumental moments belonged to his brother and Dickey Betts and, later still, Warren Haynes. Gregg's songs, however, including "Whipping Post" and "Midnight Rider," were among the group's notable originals during its classic period, 1969-1972. Beginning with Brothers and Sisters, Betts' songwriting and singing assumed increasing prominence.

    It was during the period that Brothers and Sisters was burning up the charts that Gregg Allman emerged as a solo artist with his first album, the critically well-received hit Laid Back, which put the softer, more serious, soul- and gospel-tinged side of his work in sharper focus. A tour followed, which yielded a live album that was also a success. This first period of solo popularity was interrupted by a combination of professional and personal conflicts; the Allman Brothers Band toured extensively and struggled to come up with a follow-up to Brothers and Sisters, and Gregg Allman began a relationship with Cher, the ex-wife and singing partner of Sonny Bono, which resulted in a tumultuous series of marriages and divorces for the two. These activities were played out amid Allman's well-publicized drug problems, which culminated with his testifying against a band employee in a federal drug case, which, in turn, led to the temporary but extended dissolution of the Allman Brothers Band.

    Ironically, it was during this period, in 1977, that he delivered Playin' Up a Storm, a pop-soul effort that proved to be his most accomplished and successful album. Alas, this was to be the peak of his career away from the band. His next two albums, I'm No Angel and Just Before the Bullets Fly, released at the end of the 1980s, were quickly eclipsed by the re-formed and reinvigorated Allman Brothers Band's success on-stage and on record. His 1997 release Searchin' for Simplicity and the double-CD anthology One More Try had none of the urgency or success of the band's activities. In 2009, Australia's Raven Records imprint issued a 19-track, single-disc retrospective, entitled The Solo Years 1973-1997: One More Silver Dollar, that covered the whole of Allman's solo career to that date from his years at Capricorn and Columbia. In 2011, some 14 years after his last solo album, Allman released the T-Bone Burnett-produced Low Country Blues on Rounder Records.

    Album Review

    Given his place in the pantheon of American rock music, Gregg Allman's solo career away from the Allman Brothers Band has been generally disappointing. Perhaps that's why it took nearly a decade between his previous album, 1997's Searching for Simplicity (its title alone indicates his frustrations) and 1988's over-produced yet underwhelming Just Before the Bullets Fly. A whopping 14 years later, Allman joins forces with roots producer to the stars T-Bone Burnett, hoping that some of the latter's mojo can rub off on a singer who is one of the great white soul and blues vocalists in rock music. For the most part it does, as the duo choose 11 relatively obscure covers from classic artists such as Bobby "Blue" Bland, Junior Wells, and B.B. King that have clearly influenced Allman's musical approach. The backing is organic but far from stripped-down with horns, multiple guitars, and even background vocalists supporting the singer's patented crusty growl. From the opening raw thump of the ominous Sleepy John Estes' "Floating Bridge" to a peppy yet intense take on Muddy Waters' "I Can't be Satisfied" and a fiery reworking of Magic Sam's "My Love Is Your Love," Allman sounds invested and inspired by this material and his musical surroundings. Veterans such as Dr. John (credited here with his real name, Mac Rebennack), Doyle Bramhall II, and Burnett's often used rhythm section of drummer Jay Bellerose and Dennis Crouch on bass keep a taut yet easygoing lock on the groove. That's particularly evident on the predominantly acoustic version of Skip James' "Devil Got My Woman." The horns that appear on five tunes never overpower the sound yet help propel Allman's soul-searing performance of Bland's "Blind Man." Ditto for Otis Rush's slow blues "Checking on My Baby," which brings the vocalist back to his "Stormy Monday"-styled beginnings. One original co-written with Allman Brothers Band guitarist Warren Haynes, "Just Another Rider," while not a terrible song, pales in comparison with the rest of the material and could have been saved for the next Brothers album, where it might make a better fit. Allman is credited with B-3 on the majority of the tunes, but his contributions are generally mixed so low as to be nearly inaudible. His organ can be heard on a low-down run-through of Amos Milburn's "Tears, Tears, Tears" that captures a sweet, jazzy noir West Coast blues. It adds up to Allman's best and surely most focused and cohesive solo release, and one where the template can hopefully be repeated in less time than it took this to appear.

    Track Listing

    1 Floating Bridge Estes, Estes 4:45
    2 Little by Little London, Wells 2:45
    3 Devil Got My Woman James, James 4:52
    4 I Can't Be Satisfied Waters 3:31
    5 Blind Man Bland, Robey, Scott 3:46
    6 Just Another Rider Allman, Haynes 5:39
    7 Please Accept My Love King, Ling 3:07
    8 I Believe I'll Go Back Home Traditional 3:49
    9 Tears, Tears, Tears Milburn 4:54
    10 My Love Is Your Love Maghett 4:14
    11 Checking on My Baby Rush 4:06
    12 Rolling Stone Traditional 7:04
    A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.
    Will Rogers

  2. #2


    This is a nice arrangement though, not the usual progressions and he still sings great. Tasty Allmanish guitar solo whoever that is. Oh, Warren Haynes.
    Completely missed this album, Thanks. *

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